Arkansas lost a state treasure on Friday. Nolan Richardson provided some of the greatest thrills that anyone could ever imagine for sports fans in this state.
Yes, Nolan said things that often made us wince ... and that is what ultimately got him ... but his balance sheet over 17 years showed much more on the good side than the bad side. A national championship and two other trips to the Final four made him the best coach in UA basketball history. His teams were not only good, they were fun to watch. I delighted in watching his teams play the game of basketball, his style or any style. It was true fun.
The bad news is that the fallout over the decision to terminate Nolan ... and that's what it was from Wednesday forward ... will be considerable, and may not stop for many years. Unfortunately, this decision may cause as many problems as it relieved, in this writer's opinion. But, from the time he was halfway through with his Monday tirade ... and I called it a tirade ... he was probably doomed. He created the mess that left the UA brass few choices.
Those that objected to Richardson's frequent use of the race card may or may not be surprised at how often it will be used to describe the Arkansas sports scene in the future because of his termination, and not just from Richardson.
There will be more developments and they promise to be interesting, and sometimes even entertaining ... at our expense.
No doubt, Richardson will write a book. No doubt, I'll purchase it. I think many more will, too. No doubt, there may be legal procedings. Both will be interesting if not entertaining, again at our expense.
Arkansas officials know all of that, and still decided to end the relationship. But, this much is certain, they have not heard the last from Nolan Richardson.
Forty minutes of hell may turn into several months or even years of hell. I don't just expect it, I promise it. To borrow a recent phrase from the coach, where there is smoke, there is probably fire.